Emotional Philly rock four-piece Strand of Oaks have been busy lately. Recently, the band did a session with the World Cafe. In it, lead singer, Tim Showalter discusses growing up in a Mennonite community, his journey to Philly and the production of the album. In particular, the album title is meant to be shouted, Showalter explained, since it’s a command to heal. Furthermore, Showlater declared that he “is proud to say that he’s from Philly because it’s people that only care about the music…none of the frivolous stuff…the bands are real.” Strand of Oaks performed “Goshen ’97″, “Heal” and “Plymouth”.
Their newest album HEAL came out this past Tuesday. Highly praised, the album is a brutally honest memoir of Showalter’s personal tragedies. The anthem nature of HEAL, especially the title track, makes the tone of the album one of resilience and hope. Earlier this week, we ran a great interview where The Key’s Elliot Sharp talked with Showalter about the various and interesting day jobs he’s held over the years. And this morning, Strand of Oaks was added to the lineup of the XPoNential Music Festival.
Strand of Oaks will also be tomorrow’s Free at Noon artist. RSVP and get more info on the show here. Listen to the session below.
The band’s lively afternoon set showcased eight songs from its self titled debut LP, which came out last week on XL Recordings, and the performance was a blissful mix of slick keyboard lines, harmonized vocals and (believe it or not) Coke bottle percussion. Check out photos and listen to an archive of the performance below, and read the setlist after the jump.
Nashville country-soul five-piece The Apache Relay warmed up for its Friday night headlining show at the North Star Bar with a rousing set for the crowd at WXPN’s Free at Noon concert. The band released its self-titled third album in April, and with a generous helping of buzz culled from slots opening for Mumford and Sons in support of 2011′s American Nomad, is in the middle of a U.S. tour. The Free at Noon set drew entirely from the new album – listen to it and check out a photo gallery from the show below, and check out the setlist after the jump.
Australian singer, songwriter, producer, DJ and multi-instrumentalist Chet Faker recently released his debut full length album, the soulful, electronica laced Built On Glass. Born Nick Murphy, his career took off in 2011 when he released a cover of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity,” followed by two EP’s. Faker recently appeared on the World Cafe to talk about his musical influences and how he crafted the songs his new album. Listen to the full session here, and download a Cafe version of “1998″ below. Chet Faker will be performing with Hamilton Leithauser on Friday, May 16th for a double header WXPN Free At Noon concert at The Porch at 30th Street.
Folk trio Nickel Creek are back in fine form with their new LP A Dotted Line and a spirited live show on display at today’s Free at Noon concert. The band, who plays the Tower Theater tonight (tickets and info at the XPN Concert Calendar), played a well-received set touching on the new album and digging into their back-catalogue for a few selections including the popular single “When In Rome” from 2005′s Why Should the Fire Die. Check out a gallery of photos and listen back to the performance in its entirety below.
A master of modern folk, the iconic Ani Di Franco played World Cafe Live at the Queen last Friday for a Free at Noon performance. The five-song set featured three as-yet unreleased songs – “Genie,” “Allergic” and “Happy All The Time,” which have been part for her live repertoire for the past couple years – and touched on 2008′s Red Letter Day with “Alla This” and her 1995 classic “32 Flavors” from Not A Pretty Girl. Check out a gallery of photos from Di Franco’s performance and listen to the set in its entirety below.
New wave icon Boy George warmed up for his show tonight at the TLA with a rousing Free at Noon set before a sold-out World Cafe Live crowd. Having just collaborated with co-headliners Black Lips on a cover of T. Rex’s “Bang A Gong (Get It On)” (watch it here), George headed downstairs to treat the audience with a set pulled mostly from his 2013 LP This Is What I Do; though the classic he performed with Culture Club, “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,” was in the mix, along with “Everything I Own” from his 1987 solo debut Sold and a cover of Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe.” Listen to the set in its entirety below, check out photos from the set in the gallery and read the setlist after the jump. Get tickets and more information on his TLA show tonight at the XPN Concert Calendar.
Atlanta psych-punk four-piece Black Lips kicked off today’s Free at Noon doubleheader with an upstairs set that included a surprise cover of “Bang A Gong” by T. Rex with Boy George (watch it here), but also a set of tracks from the band’s discography, including the new Underneath the Rainbow, out now on Vice Records. Check out photos in the gallery, listen to the performance in its entirety below, and read the setlist after the jump. Black Lips headline Union Transfer tonight; tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.
Portland, Oregon’s Typhoon played to a starstruc Philly crowd for Free at Noon, with eclectic sounds reminiscent of Fleet Foxes and Beirut. Warming up their fans for tonight’s Union Transfer show, the almost-dozen folk ensemble played tunes like “Dreams of Cannibalism” and “Common Sentiments” off of their latest release White Lighter. Prep for their next performance by checking out and listening to the Free At Noon show below.
“I heard that he got the idea for this song because he and his wife had been out on the road a lot together,” country singer/songwriter Suzy Bogguss says before starting off today’s Free At Noon performance with a Merle Haggard cover. “…He saw her from across the airport and remembered how lucky he was. And he walked over and he touched her on the shoulder and he said to her, Today I started loving you again.”
Today Bogguss and her back-up boys stopped by the World Cafe Live to celebrate her latest release Lucky. Narrating why she chose each song on her Haggard tribute, Bogguss crooned to the crowd with pure elegance performing well known Merle tunes like “Silver Wings” and “The Bottle Let Me Down.” Tonight, catch the entire entourage again at Sellersville Theater. Check out today’s performance by viewing the setlist and photo gallery, and listening to the archived performance here (via the WXPN media player).